Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was killed Wednesday in a car crash in her home state of Indiana.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy shared a statement on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon from Walorski’s office confirming her death in Elkhart County in northern Indiana.
The statement said Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, learned of her death from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office. The Elkhart County Sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a USA TODAY request for comment.
Emma Thomson, a member of Walorski’s staff, and Zach Potts, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, also were killed in the crash, according to the South Bend Tribune. The newspaper reported that Walorski’s vehicle was traveling on a state route in Elkhart County when a car traveling the opposite direction crossed the center line, colliding head-on with the vehicle.
Walorski, 58, was born in South Bend, Ind., and was first elected to Congress in 2012. Before she was elected to Congress, Walorski served three terms in the Indiana Statehouse, worked as a missionary in Romania and spent time as a television news reporter and development director in higher education.
News of Walorski’s death prompted an outpouring from congressional colleagues and others in Washington on both sides of the aisle. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor Walorski.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, an Indiana native, said he was “heartbroken” over the loss of a “truly inspiring Indiana leader.”
“She served Indiana in the Statehouse and the Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and will be deeply missed,” Pence tweeted.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said in a prepared statement that he was “devastated” to learn of Walorski’s death.
“She was a champion for the people of Indiana, and she will be remembered for her kindness, tenacity, and commitment to helping others,” he said. “Jackie and her staffers died serving her constituents. They will be missed, and our nation will miss their service. My prayers are with Jackie’s loving husband Dean, her entire family, and the families of both of her staffers.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Congress had “lost one of our best.”
“Rep. Jackie Walorski was a true leader/legislator and the most thoughtful person one could hope to meet. She was dedicated and determined, and the kindest of colleagues — with the heart to match,” he said in a prepared statement.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat and fellow Indiana native, lauded Walorski for her approach even as they disagreed.
“Though we came from very different places politically, she was always prepared to work together where there was common ground, always decent and straightforward, and she cared deeply about her work and her constituents,” he tweeted Wednesday.
Check back with USA TODAY for more on this developing story.